Thursday, June 02, 2011

More Ways to Halt the Mosquito Apocalypse

Scientists at UC Riverside have made some discoveries which put them in something of a race with scientists at Vanderbilt University, to produce the best chemical mosquito repellent and/or neutraliser.
To find human hosts to bite and spread disease, these mosquitoes use exhaled carbon dioxide as a vital cue. A disruption of the vital carbon dioxide detection machinery of mosquitoes, which would help control the spread of diseases they transmit, has therefore been a long sought-after goal.

Anandasankar Ray, an assistant professor of entomology at the University of California, Riverside, and colleagues report in the June 2 issue of Nature (cover story) that they have identified in the lab and in semi-field trials in Africa three classes of volatile odor molecules that can severely impair, if not completely disrupt, the mosquitoes' carbon dioxide detection machinery.

...The three classes of the odor molecules are:
Inhibitors: Odor molecules, like hexanol and butanal, that inhibit the carbon dioxide receptor in mosquitoes and flies.

Imitators: Odor molecules, like 2-butanone, that mimic carbon dioxide and could be used as lures for traps to attract mosquitoes away from humans.

Blinders: Odors molecules, like 2,3-butanedione, that cause ultra-prolonged activation of the carbon dioxide sensing neurons, effectively "blinding" the mosquitoes and disabling their carbon dioxide detection machinery for several minutes.

"These chemicals offer powerful advantages as potential tools for reducing mosquito-human contact, and can lead to the development of new generations of insect repellents and lures," said Ray, who led the study. "The identification of such odor molecules – which can work even at low concentrations, and are therefore economical – could be enormously effective in compromising the ability of mosquitoes to seek humans, thus helping control the spread of mosquito-borne diseases." _PO
Mosquito borne diseases take a severe toll in human life and cause untold disability every year. Learning to distract mosquitoes from seeking out human victims would improve living conditions across much of the world.

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Blogger Amber West said...

There is one easy to to stop mosquitos - DDT. DDT never had any of the harmful effects its detractors claimed, all of the 'studies' had severe problems, like feeding mice mouldy grain or not giving quail sufficient calcium to produce good eggs. DDT has never once been proven to have a serious harmful effect on humans or wildlife. Not one person who worked in a DDT factory reported illness to due to their work by 2001. People who daily ingested DDT for two years reported no ill effects. Hawk, eagle, and falcon populations overall were on the *rise* during the DDT years, not falling.

Yet liberals banned it anyway and condemned millions to disease and hundreds of thousands to death.

I know it sounds crazy - I grew up with the DDT myth and bought it hook, line, and sinker for years. It wasn't until I decided to check the other side and see if it was a bunch of nonsense like I suspected, and instead found out I'd been listening to lies that fall apart upon the slightest scrutiny.

2:55 PM  

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